The Ecodesign Directive exists since 2005. The Directive (Directive 2005/32/EC) covers in principle all energy-using products placed on the EU market. The scope of the Directive was extended recently so as to cover all energy-related products and the revised version of the Directive (Directive 2009/125/EC) entered into force on 10 November 2009.
The Ecodesign Directive provides a coherent and integrated framework for the application of EU-wide rules, to improve the environmental performance of energy-related products. The Ecodesign Directive does not create any binding requirements on products by themselves, but product-specific ecodesign measures (mandatory requirements) are set in Commission regulations.
The Ecodesign Directive describes ecodesign as “the integration of environmental aspects into product design with the aim of improving the environmental performance of the product throughout its whole life-cycle”. (Directive 2009/125/EC)
According to this definition, the environmental impact of the product is analysed throughout its life-cycle, covering all phases from cradle to grave, such as the use of raw materials and natural resources, manufacturing, packaging, transport, disposal and recycling. It is estimated that more than 80% of the environmental impact of a product is determined at the design stage.
The directive is expected to put greater pressure on manufacturers to estimate the life-cycle costs of their products at the early stage of design, so as to minimise costs on consumers and reduce the environmental impact of their products.